Shea Van Hoy bids farewell to the newspaper that has bid farewell to New Albany.


My old pal Byron used to deploy a witty piece of stock dialogue, reserving it for just the right moment, as when walking into a bar at closing time, only to learn that we’d missed last call.

Is it any wonder I’m bitter?

Way back in June of 2011, a few months after the New Albany Tribune and Jeffersonville Evening News were ginzu-knived and power-blended to create what functions today as the Clark County Picayune, it was announced that the publishing schedule would be revised so as to disseminate the news via the US Mail, with the Sunday edition disappearing entirely.

News and Tribune eliminates Sunday, adds Monday, calls it “robust.” I call it very bad writing.

In a consideration of all this, I wrote the following.

Reckon that’s the real dollars and cents reason for all the smoke, mirrors and bull feces, right?

Another bottom line decision from the Retirement Systems of Alabama, just like the one that has deprived New Albany of its local newspaper for the first time since before the Civil War.

Well, I can speak only for myself and the missus.

I’ve persisted as a subscriber solely because of the Sunday edition, being an old fart and actually enjoying the feel and smell of newsprint with coffee on a lazy morning off. Bill Hanson’s “robust” explanation quite simply is a contrived insult to the intelligence of any thinking human, especially New Albany’s newspaper readers, who already are the major losers in the pension fund-driven “combining” of newspaper operations.

My, my. We’ve doubled down on those losses lately, haven’t we?

Fast forwarding to 2016, since Daniel Suddeath departed in September, 2015, New Albany has not had a dedicated city beat reporter. This has included two election cycles and times too numerous to count when this blog, Insider Louisville, Business First and even the C-J have scooped the News and Tribune.

Of the stories being hawked by N & T to the public on a weekly basis, the ratio of Clark-to-Floyd coverage tends to be at least 2-1, though often 3-1 or more. Taken together, the recent combined weight of cooking school (wtf?) blurbs and breathless live tweeting about a reality television show (both occurring in Clark County, of course) has easily outstripped increasingly paltry coverage of  New Albany.

By the way, here is Shea Van Hoy’s finale. He says the newspaper’s doing a great job. You be the judge.

VAN HOY: A fond farewell to News and Tribune readers

As a personal postscript, when Steve Kozarovich engaged me as a columnist in 2009, it was still the New Albany Tribune. When I ran for city council in the 2011 primary, the column was suspended according to the usual rules. Then I lost in the primary, and my column should have resumed, except that in the interim, the newspapers had been merged by CNHI.

Kozarovich was gone, and a new era was under way.

I met Shea Van Hoy at Bank Street Brewhouse, and we discussed the column’s future. He intimated that there were difficulties rearranging the roster of columnists owing to space, which I interpreted as the new management regime’s unwillingness to remunerate columnists at the same rate as before. It seemed a creative solution was in order, so I proposed one.

Seeing as I’d already been writing about beer for LEO and  Louisville Food & Dining, and thus had displayed a proven ability to keep my NABC day job separate from my writing gigs, I offered to Shea that I’d relinquish the “general interest” newspaper column, and trade it for future considerations, namely, a weekly column about beer, food and drink in the area.

I made this offer from two motivations.

For one, it would broaden my own skills in the genre, because for me, deadlines are good.

Moreover, it would allow the News and Tribune to be the newspaper of record for what I thought was about to explode in both New Albany and Jeffersonville — and has, in spades, during the five years since then. I’ve often been wrong, but not about this one.

In the end, I voluntarily killed the column and made Shea’s life easier. In return, five years later, the now departing editor hasn’t once followed up, not even once, on what I’d imagined was at least a potential talking point.

Back to Vonnegut: So it goes.

Maybe I should have moved to Jeffersonville. Come to think about it, Ed Clere never got his column back, either.

I wonder why?